Castleford Tigers’ capture of young prop Callum Bustin has brought around a true rag to riches story.
The London-born forward has joined the Tigers on a full-time deal after impressing Daryl Powell during a trial period with the club.
The move comes just months after the 20-year-old’s future in the game was in serious doubt.
After being told he would not be offered a contract by London in June he sough an early released in order to pursue a deal elsewhere.
However, his departure from the Broncos left Bustin in a difficult financial position and a result, he was forced to move in with his agent, Craig Harrison, as he tried to get his career on track.
He trained with Castleford for free during a trial period and combined that while playing for Newcastle Thunder on a pay-as-you-play deal, all while living with his agent, helping out with chores and walking the family dog in return.
However, the decision has paid off. After earning rave reviews with the League 1 club, the prop has secured a contract with last year’s Grand Finalists and will spend the year with Bradford Bulls on loan, a remarkable rise for a player whose career appeared to be over before it had barely started just six months ago.
“I asked Castleford if they would take him on a trial as I felt they could do something with him,” Harrison explained.
“It took a lot of guts for him to go down, he trained with Cas and we got him on a pay as you play at Newcastle.
“The problem was that he had no money, so he ended up living in my apartment below me, so we fed and watered him. He’s part of the family now. He’s lost two stone walking the dog, it’s quite good he’s there for us to be honest!
“He has agreed a full-time deal at Castleford and that’s massive, it’s a huge testament to him having fought through everything thrown at him.”
Harrison’s clientele features an array of up-and-coming talents along with established stars. But he remains vocal about the issues developing players face within the game.
“We should never write off a kid at 19,” he said.
“But the system allows that to happen. He’s still a baby, but he was nearly gone.
“They make calls on players when they’re still teenagers and that’s just not enough time. The call should be made on players at 23, but clubs aren’t doing that.”